The Secret Sauce for a Satisfying Relationship
By: Tracy Brown, AMFT
As a therapist, I have the privilege of listening to many very meaningful stories. Within each unique narrative, I notice a common thread that weaves through nearly every experience – the desire for a satisfying relationship. In almost every story that I hear, at some point, there is a measure of conflict, frustration, pain, or grief concerning a significant relationship. Relationships have a huge impact on our lives, which can positively or negatively impact our daily functioning. They can also profoundly impact our self-perception, which directly influences our self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. Oftentimes, how we feel about ourselves is a direct result of the quality of our relationships with others.
Therapy provides an opportunity to reflect upon our interpersonal relationships and recognize their impact upon our intrapersonal relationships, which is the relationship we have with ourselves. In therapy, clients are not only learning to heal from the pain of broken or dysfunctional relationships, but they are developing healthy coping skills to manage their emotions and develop a healthy self-esteem by embracing their unique strengths and qualities, which promote resilience and recovery from lost or broken relationships. Although it is impossible to guarantee a life free from painful experiences, it is possible to heal from them. Engaging in therapy allows us the space to do just that. It also helps identify patterns that may have led to unhealthy relationships to reduce the risk of reengaging in them. Most importantly, therapy provides a safe, nonjudgement space to discover our unique strengths and qualities that will help us to thrive in the most significant relationship of all – the one we have with ourselves. The extent to which we value ourselves will influence the quality of our relationships with others, making self-love the secret sauce to a satisfying relationship.